Homosexuality Isn’t A Crime, Says Pope Francis, Calls To End 'Unjust' Laws Against It
Homosexuality Isn’t A Crime, Says Pope Francis, Calls To End 'Unjust' Laws Against It

Homosexuality Isn’t A Crime, Says Pope Francis, Calls To End 'Unjust' Laws Against It

In a significant change in the historical stands taken by the Catholic Church on the issue of homosexuality, Pope Francis has said that “being homosexual isn’t a crime.”

The head of the Catholic Church, while speaking to the Associated Press, also called laws that criminalize homosexuality “unjust” and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church.


Bishops need to change

Pope Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against the LGBTQ community. He referred to the issue in terms of “sin.” But he attributed such attitudes to cultural backgrounds and said bishops need to undergo a process of change to recognize the dignity of everyone.

“These bishops have to have a process of conversion,” he said, adding that they should apply “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us.”


Laws against homosexuality unjust

He called laws criminalising homosexuality “unjust” and said the Catholic Church can and should work to end them.

 “It must do this. It must do this,” he said.

Not a crime, but a sin

Pope Francis, however, said there needed to be a distinction between a crime and a sin regarding homosexuality.

“Being homosexual is not a crime,” he said. “It’s not a crime. Yes, but it’s a sin. Fine, but first, let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime.”

“It’s also a sin to lack charity with one another,” he added.

Outreach to LGBT community

Pope Francis, who is widely seen as a reformist, has in the past too tried to reach out to the LGBT community but has stopped short of openly endorsing them.


In 2019, Francis had been expected to issue a statement opposing the criminalisation of homosexuality during a meeting with human rights groups that conducted research into the effects of such laws and so-called “conversion therapies.”

In the end, the pope did not meet with the groups which; instead met with Vatican No. 2, who reaffirmed “the dignity of every human person and against every form of violence.”

Starting with his famous 2013 declaration, “Who am I to judge?” when he was asked about a purportedly gay priest, Francis has gone on to minister repeatedly and publicly to the gay and trans community. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he favoured granting legal protections to same-sex couples as an alternative to endorsing gay marriage, which Catholic doctrine forbids.


Despite such outreach, Francis was criticized by the Catholic LGBTQ community for a 2021 decree from the Vatican’s doctrine office that the church cannot bless same-sex unions “because God cannot bless sin.”

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